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Plans for 70-seat hybrid electric plane to be unveiled

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Boris Johnson wants the UK to produce the first zero-emission long-haul passenger plane by 2050 with the slogan, JetZero, but his plans have been criticised as overly optimistic and relying on out-of-reach technology.

A British company has unveiled its designs in the race to build the world’s first mass-transit hybrid-electric plane.

Hybrid electric planes, like cars, rely on a backup of fossil fuels and are therefore less green than all-electric planes that run on renewable energy.

But the development of an all-electric plane at scale has been hampered by the size of the battery required, which means it has focused on planes with fewer than 20 seats that can only travel relatively short distances.

Boris Johnson wants the UK to produce the first zero-emission long-haul passenger plane by 2050 with the slogan, JetZero, but his plans have been criticised as overly optimistic and relying on out-of-reach technology.

“If you want to solve the decarbonisation issue, you have to produce a large-sized aircraft,” said Kamran Iqbal, the CEO of EAG. “And you have to solve mass transportation problems. You can’t do that with a 20-seater aircraft.”

In the long-term, the firm says its plane will be able to transition to all-electric when the technology allows. In the meantime, it says the plane can be used to transport passengers and cargo between regional airports and help the transport industry lower its emissions.

The company is in talks with major aerospace suppliers interested in pursuing the technology and hopes it to raise both private sector and government support for its plane.

Other companies have started development of hybrid electric planes in recent years, including an Airbus, Rolls-Royce and Siemens collaboration that was cancelled by the pandemic.

The company says manufacturing the plane in Britain could create 25,000 jobs. Its design will be unveiled at the online Farnborough Airshow on Tuesday (NZT).

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